4 week compás challenge - week 1

Flamenco Bites compás challenge - week 1 | www.flamencobites.com

Today is the first day of the 4 week compás challenge - if you missed yesterday's introduction post you can read it here.

4 Week Compás Challenge

We had a fantastic response on facebook (you are following us on facebook aren't you??) yesterday when it was announced and it looks like there will be a nice size group of us working together. Thank you so much for all of your enthusiasm, you guys are such a great group of dancers!

Below I am going to outline a suggested schedule that you could follow for the first week. Remember that this is just a suggestion so you can change it to suit your needs (time allowance, energy level, abilities), take it easy and listen to your body.

Day 1

10 minute body warm up - Spend some time to get your body moving (*if you have a foam roller it would be a good time to roll out your legs and back before you start each session)

  • roll your shoulders forwards and backwards
  • circle your head slowly to the right and then the left
  • lift your arms above your head and reach for the ceiling, let your tailbone be heavy as you separate your ribcage from your hips
  • roll down your spine down and back up again nice and slowly

30 minute practice

  • walk in compás  (5 min) -  to engage your mind and body choose a compás and walk to the beat. Don't leave your body behind when you step out, you are transferring your weight on to each leg for each beat so be clear about where and when that happens. 
  • golpe practice (5 min) - warm up the legs with single and double golpes. Make sure you use the whole foot to connect with the floor and swing the leg up as high as you can. Do 4 single and 4 double golpes, once you have practiced for a few minutes practice controlling the volume of your feet. Start with a low volume and finish the last golpe with a sharp accent - be careful not to speed up with the increasing volume.
  • planta tacón practice (5 min) - warm up the muscles of the foot. Start this exercise slowly and really work the foot. Be mindful of the position of your upper body (no bouncing!) and make sure your tacón is as loud and strong as you can make it. Keep the rhythm steady don't speed up or slow down.
  •  take some time to work on your chosen step (10 min)
  • film yourself doing your step and use #FBcompás to share on instagram

Day 2

  • Pick a song from your chosen compás (email me if you need help with this renae [at] flamencobites.com) and listen to it a few times. Once you can hear the rhythm practice accompanying the song with palmas. Don't try to put accents in if you are a beginner - you can work on matching your palmas to each beat.
  • With the feeling that you should now have from listening to your song, picture yourself doing your chosen step in compás. See if you can picture your self performing the step with a sense on musicality. 

Day 3

10 minute body warm up (see above)

30 minute practice

  • walk in compás  (5 min) -  to engage your mind and body choose a compás and walk to the beat. Don't leave your body behind when you step out, you are transferring your weight on to each leg for each beat so be clear about where and when that happens. 
  • braceo (5 min) - start with working only the arm positions then add in the wrist circle and full hand circle when you feel ready. Emphasis should be on good posture and clear movements with each arm position (primero, segundo etc..) landing on a beat.
  • basic marcaje (5 min) - start marking in place and then progress to marking with a weight change. Make sure your weight is fully transferred for each beat in the compás. If you are struggling with this it could be because you haven't engaged your weight centre.
  • take some time to work on your chosen step (10 min)
  • contratiempo practice (5 min) - don't be frightened by contratiempo. Beginners can try the exercise in the first video, more advanced dancers and try to match what José does in the 2nd and 3rd videos.

Day 4

  • sing a rhythm - ok, stay with me here. One of the most important things you can do to help your self connect with rhythm is to sing it. So today's exercise is to pick a footwork step (it doesn't have to one you can do) and try to sing the rhythm out loud. I will post a video of myself doing this for you so you know what I mean. 

Day 5

Rest Day

Day 6

10 minute body warm up (see above)

35 minute practice

  • walk in compás  (5 min) -  to engage your mind and body choose a compás and walk to the beat. This time try walking only on the accents of the compás, don't lose time by being surprised when an accent comes around!
  • planta tacón practice (5 min) - warm up the muscles of the foot. Do this exercise is single and then double time (4 beats each). For more advanced dancers double into triple time.
  • planta tacón tacón (5 min) - this step adds a balance challenge. Keep it steady and try not to bounce. 
  • take some time to work on your chosen step (10 min)
  • marcaje por soleá (10 min) - work on transferring your weight clearly between each movement

Day 7

Take today to do what ever you need to help your body. Think of it as an active recovery day.  I like to spend one day a week foam rolling at regular intervals and working on mobility (while listening to flamenco of course!). You can chose anything that suits your body, even going for a swim is a good idea. You can count your strokes in compás.


From the feedback I received yesterday there are a few people new to Instagram. Instagram is a social network for sharing photos. I enjoy it because of the visual aspect to all the posts. To use Instagram you need to download the app to your smart phone and create an account. You can search for people to follow (we are @flamencobites). Hashtags are a big deal on Instagram and you can click on a hashtag in a photo description to see who else has posted photos using that tag. We are using #FBcompás for our challenge so that if you post a photo or video we can click the hashtag, find you and say hello!

And if you're on twitter we can meet you there also we are @flamencobites on twitter.

If you need any help or have any questions let me know I'm here to help  - renae [at] flamencobites.com